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it was his pleasure no less than his duty to enforce, as far as deto proceed. Mr. R. again appealed from the de pended upon him, the rules which the house of representatives in

the exercise of this constitutional power had thought proper to Cision, but subsequently withdrew his appeal and prescribe. He could have no interest but to perform with the ut-thereby manifested his acquiescence in it. The most impartiality, this trust, and in doing it he should always cour house then refused to consider the motion by aves suit every source of information which was accessible to him. The question was then taken on the consideration of the reso. lation, as heretofore stated, and lost, 72 to 37.

and noes. Other questions of order, having no material bearing on this subject, were decided.

Such were the circumstances of the case. It re To the Editor of the National Intelligencer. sults that, between the decisions of Mr. Bibb and Some printed sheets, consisting of an address of discrepancy; unless it is to be found in the momen mine, certainly between my own, there existed no the hon. John Randolph of Roanoake, to the free, tary error, rectified almost as soon as committed, holders of certain counties in Virginia, and of wharelative to the necessity of the house determining to purports to be the 'fragment' of a speech of that con-ider the motion. Not between the former, be gentleman delivered in the house of representativest have fallen into my hands. The author appears tNot between the latter, because the first decision cause the points on which we decided were different. think that particular decisions of that body, of at the instance of Mr. Wright, recognized only the which he undertakes to give an account, have un admissibility of prefatory remarks, a quality which warrantably restricted the freedom of debate. How those of Mr. R. bad, when the last determination ever reluctant 1 may be to offer myself, in this way, took place, long ceased to possess. to your notice, when a member of the house of representatives lends the high authority of his name first is, that the house has a right to know, through Two principles are settled by these decisions; the to an incorrect statement of a transaction, and its organ, the specific motion which a member inwhich, by the omission of material circumstances, tends making, before he undertakes to argue it at exhibits only a partial view of the case, I think it large; and in the second place that it reserves to it. due to the public, whose judgement and opinion self the exercise of the power of determining whe have been invoked, to have the matter set fully and ther it will consider it at the particular time when accurately before them. It is my intention to aim at the accomplishment of this object. It is not my purpose to notice particularly the manner or the substance of the residue of those compositions. How far the political speculations and sentiments of the author are just, the world may judge.

offered, prior to his thus proceeding to argue it.

It would seem to be altogether reasonable, that when a member intends addressing a copious argument to a public body, for the purpose of enforcing a motion, he should disclose the motion inand of several if not of all the state assemblies, to require not only tended to be supported. It is the practice of the British parliament,

that this should be done but that it should be seconded; thus af In the commencement of the observations of Mr.fording a protection against the obtrusion upon the body of the whimsical or eccentric propositions of a disordered or irregular R. after announcing his purpose to make a motion, miud, by the coincidence in opinion of at least two is true that, Mr. Wright having called him to At what particular period the proposition ought to be submitted is order, because there was no motion before the sy of all bodies will be found a suficient safeguard against the experhaps not exactly defined or definable. Certainly in the courte house, it was stated by me that as he had signified clusion of matter properly introductive, explanatory, or prefatohis intention, it was usual to admit prefatory re from arguments in chief is not succeptible of accurate description, ry to the motion. The line separating matter of this character marks. Mr. R. proceeded, and having gone very It does not however present more practical difficulty than to dis much at large into the question of the repeal of the criminate between observations which are relevant or otherwise, French decrees, the subject of bockades, and other it is indeed not often that the rule is applied of requiring its speci decorous or reprehensible. When a member rises to make a motion, topics, I left the chair for a few minutes, placing fication, because the necessity of such application rarely occurs. there my friend Mr. Bibb, as my substitute. I will cation than the non-existence of other rules, the actual enforce But its non-existence is no more to be inferred from its non-appli not say what was the case upon which that gentlement of which does not take place in every special case to which in man, whilst he was so kind as to represent me, was terms they apply. The best demonstration of the utility of the called upon to decide, my attention not having been had addressed the house not less than an hour. The general rule is afforded in the very case complained of. Mr. Randolph particularly directed to the point. It is said by the tenor of his arguments would have conducted equally well to fragment,' and I will suppose it to have been on a or at least to several others to war, for example, or some almost any other conclusion than that to which he was carried, call to order by Mr. Calhoun, because "the ques other measure of a hostile character against France that the law tion of war was not before the house." I shortly of non-importation ought to be repealed as to England-or put after resumed the chair, and Mr. Calhoun again if not the whole of his speech, keeping out of mind the motion with on against her enemy. Any man who will now read seven-eighths, called Mr R. to order and submitted whether he which it ternainated, will, I apprehend, find it extremely difficult to was not bound to specify his proposition and pro-Now it is made the duty of the presiding officer (by the usages of conjecture that such was or what was to be the concluding motion. cure a second before he proceeded further. It was all deliberate bodies, and moreover by express rules of the house decided that he was bound to state it, that it must point. How, that officer being ignorant of the motion intended to of representatives) to keep the member, addressing the chair, to the be seconded, reduced to writing, according to a be off red, was that duty to be performed? How was the house particular rule of the house, if required, and an tself to apply the arguments? In point of fact I was entirely nounced from the chair. At the time this decision would be submitted, and even after it was reduced to writing it was uncertain (others have assured me they were) as to what motion was made Mr. R. had been speaking I think at believed not to be the one originally contemplated by the mover. I least one hour. An appeal was taken to the house, think then I am justified in saying that there is nothing unreason who confirmed the decision. He was then request-enforce and establish a given proposition, that the mover of it shall able in the requisition, on the part of a body addressed to illustrate, ed to reduce his motion to writing, which he did, specify it, that it shall be seconded, and, to prevent misconception of and presented it to the chair, remarking that he did its precise import, that it shall be reduced to writing, and distinctly announced from the chair, before he advances into a boundless field it under the compulsion of the house, to which it of argument. Indeed I understand from the address, as well as was replied that it depended upon his own pleasure to withhold or offer his motion. After it was stated speaker, or being in writing, it shall be handed to the chair, and read "When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the from the chair, Mr. R. was proceeding in his argu aloud by the clerk, before debated." "When any member is about ment, when he was called to order upon the ground to speak in debate, or deliver any matter to the house, he shall rise that the house must, previous to the discussion, de shall confine himselt to the question under debate, and avoid per from his seat, and respectfully address himself to Mr. Speaker; and termine whether it would at that time consider the sonality."-Rules of the house. In England, still greater restraints proposition. I observed that that rule did not ap question in hand, it stands with the order of the house for the steaker have been imposed. If any man speak impertinently, or beside the ply to the case, but immediately correcting the im to interrupt him; andto know the pleasure of the house whether they pression, it was declared that the house must come will further hear him." "If any superfluous motion or tedious to such a resolution, or he would not be at liberty offered in the house, the party is to be directed and ordered by Mr. Speaker."-Hatsell's precedents,

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from what transpired on the occasion, that the real source of com, so abused its authority as to excite alarm or justify censure, will plaint is not in such a requisition, but that Mr. R. would have be justly determined by the eandor of the public, to whom alone it been satisfied had he not, after a compliance with it, by a subse-is amenable. quent refusal of the house to consider his motion, been prevented from continuing his argument.

Washington, 17th June, 1812.

Declaration of War.

From the National Intelligencer Extra.

4 o'clock P. M. June 18, 1812. The injunction of secrecy was about an hour ago removed from the following messsage, report or manifesto, and act.

Various are the expedients resorted to by deliberative bodies to conduct the business on which they are called upon to act.Among the instruments provided for regulating the time of transacting it, are the motions for the previous question, to postponeto adjourn-to lie upon the table-to consider. These in some instances are differently used by different bodies. In England, a motion to proceed to the orders of the day,' puts by whatever subject is under consideration, and the rule is not used there to consider. In the house of representatives we practise the rule to consider and do not the motion to proceed to the orders of the day. The object of all bodies on this subject is the same--so to arrange the subjects of deliberation, as to promote the public interest.— Their experience will, from time to time, suggest the defects of Without going back beyond the renewal in 1803, of the war in pre-existing rules, and the necessity of adapting new ones to new which Great Britain is engaged, and omitting unrepaired wrongs exigencies, as they arise. This rule to consider, was a novel one to of inferior magnitude, the conduct of her government presents a me when I came into the house of representatives. I found most series of acts hostile to the United States as an independent and of the old members clinging to it with great tenacity, and subse-neutral nation.

To the senate and house of representatives of the United States. I communicate to congress certain documents, being a continuation of those heretofore laid before them, on the subject of our affairs with Great Britain.

quent observation has satisfied me of its wisdom, and removed British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating whatever doubts I entertained originally of its propriety. It has the American flag on the great high way of nations, and or seize been indiscriminately applied by the house to members of all paring and carrying off persons sailing under it; not in the exercise ties. The right of one or two members to compel a body to con- of a belligerent right founded on the law of nations against an sider a proposition which, on account of the time, its manner, or enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. its matter, they do not think proper to deliberate upon, can only British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels in a situation be maintained by a reversal of the rule that the plurality of mem-where no laws can operate but the law of nations and the laws of bers is to govern, and would, as to that particular subject, make the country to which the vessels belong; and a self-redress is as the mover and his second superior to the whole body. It may, in sumed which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and deed be alleged that, unless such a privilege be recognised, great alone concerned, is that substitution of force, for a resort to the almse may be practised-that the body may refuse to consider the responsible sovereign, which falls within the definition of war.most imperious and momentous subject of national interest. The Could the seizure of British subjects in such cases be regarded as obvious reply is, that an indulgence of such a privilege expose; within the exercise of a belligerent right, the acknowledged laws the body to great abuse by any member who can obtain a second, of war, which forbid an article of captured property to be adjudg and, in the danger of opposite abuses, it is believed there is greated without a regular investigation before a competent tribunal, er safety on the side of greater numbers. The responsibility of would imperiously demand the fairest trial where the sacred rights a representative body, for what is not done, exists no less than for of persons were at issue. In place of such a trial, these rights are what is done. It is not, therefore, probable that it will refuse to subjected to the will of every petty commander. consider, and consequently to adopt, a measure presented for its The practice, hence, is so far from affecting British subjects alone, deliberation under circumstances unexceptionable as to time, form that, under the pretext of searching for these, thousands of Ame and nature of the proposition. The abuse, however, of a rule, in rican citizens, under the safeguard of public law, and of their its practical operation, is best tested by an examination of the national flag, have been torn from their country and from every cases to which it has been applied. I will content myself with that thing dear to them; have been dragged on board ships of war of furnished by Mr. Raudolph's own record. An extraordinary ses a foreign nation, and exposed, under the severities of their discision of congress is convoked; various laws are passed, with thepline, to be exiled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk avowed purpose of war. During their pendency, both in their their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melanincipient and matured forms, the subject is discussed at great length. choly instruments of taking away those of their own brethren. Every topic calculated to excite the passions, alarm the fears, or en Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so highten the judgment, is exhausted. More than any other member prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the United States of the house (often, I own, with admiration on my own part of his have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations. And talents, however much I disapproved his sentiments) is Mr. R. pa- that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, tiently and repeatedly heard to develope his views on that solemn and no pretext left for a continuance of the practice, the British question. The period at length arrives when, by every previous in- government was formally assured of the readiness of the U. States dication, a declaration of war would seem to be absolutely inevita- to enter into arrangements, such as conld not be rejected, if the ble. Of that very committee, from which it was expected such a recovery of British subjects were the real and the sole object. The declaration was to emanate, Mr. R. is a member. It is admitted by communication pissed without effect. himself on the 30th May, that on the succeeding Monday it was British cruisers have been in the practice also of violating the believed it would be presented to the house.It is admitted by rights and the pace of our coasts. They hover over and harrass himself that it was intended to be discussed with closed doors.our entering and departing commerce. To the most insulting preten Yet on that day (the 30th May) what does he attempt? Forestalling sious they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very har the friends of the measure, with open doors, without disclosing bors; and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary his particular motion, he engages in an argument which, after con- of our territorial jurisdiction. The principles and rules enforced suming one hour, is now denominated a fragment only; and by that ustion, when a neutral nation, against armed vessels of bel when required by the house, reluctantly subunits the negative ligerents hovering near her coasts, and disturbing her commerce, proposition, that it is not expedient, at this time, under existing are well known. When called on, nevertheless, by the United eircumstances, to go to war with Great Britain! Can I be mis States to punish the greater offences committed by her own vessels, taken in believing that the refusal of the house to consider such a her government has bestowed on their commanders additional proposition, so brought forward, will be approved by the good sense marks of honor and counidence. of an intelligent public? It is said that a precedent for such a Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an adequate motion is to be found in the motion of Mr. Sprigg, made in 1796. force, and sometimes without the practibility of applying one, our That gentleman, when the house was in committee of the whole commerce has been plundered in every sea; the great staples of on the state of the union, offered three resolutions, of which one our country have been cut off from their legitimate markets; and was negative, and the other two affirmative. The subject before a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and maritime interests. the committee was the President's message of 19th March, 1798. In aggravation of these predatory measures, they have been consiAt that time the practice (now no longer existing) prevailed to didered as in force from the dates of their notification; a retrospec ouss such messages in full. That message was a war message. tive effect being thus added, as has been done in other important Being under consideration, it was the nature of an affirmative pro cases, to the unlawfulness of the course pursued. And to reader position for war, to which Mr. Sprigg's motion, in the nature of the outrage the more sigual, these mock blockades have been rean amendment, was the negative. The message was the text, the iterated and enforced in the face of official communications from primary subject; his motion was incidental and ancillary. But the British government, declaring, as the true definition of a lega! Mr. R's motion was primitive, and not appurtenant to any pend-blockade that particular ports must be actually invested, and preing question. In the instance of Mr. Sprigg, no point was made vious warning given to vess is bound to them, not to enter" whether the committee would consider the proposition. Perhaps, Not content with these occasional expedients for laying waste our being a direct response to the message, they were bound to consi-neutral trade, the cabinet of Great Britain resorted, at lengtb, to der it, or not to act upon the message. Out of Mr. R's motion, the sweeping systera of blockades, under the name of orders in not supposing it adopted, no positive act could grow. It would be council, which has been moulded and managed, as might best suit as if the house should formally adopt an original resolution that its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of Bri they would not pass a particular law. The cases of Mr. R. and tish cruisers. Mr. S. are not analogous. Supposing, however, that they were, in To our remonstrances against the complicated and transcendant all their material circumstances, what would be proven? Only injustice of this innovation, the first reply was that the orders were that a body, having the power to prescribe the time when it will reluctantly adopted by Great Britain as a necess, ry retaliation on consider the subjects brought before it, has seen fit at one time (no decrees of her enemy proclaiming a general blockade of the Britisha reason then existing against it) to deliberate upon a question, isles, at a time when the naval force of that enemy dared not to is which at another time (when there are cogeut reasons against it) sue from his own ports. She was reminded, without effect, that It has not thought proper to consider. her own prior blockades, unsupported by an adequate naval force actually applied and co tinned, were a bar to this plea; that exe cuted ediets against millions of our property could not be retaliation un edicts, confessedly impossible to be excented; that retaliation, to be just, should fall on the party setting the guilty example, not on an innocent party, which was not even chargeable with an quiescence in it."

The right of the house of representatives to regulate its own proceedings is quite manifest, whether we advert to the express provision of the constitution, or to the nature and properties of a dhbcrate body. It is undoubtedly responsible for the abuse of that right, no less than it is for the abuse of any other power with which it is invested. Whether,in the instance under consideration, it has

When deprived of this flimsy veil for a prohibition of our trade with her enemy, by the repeal of his prohibition of our trade with Great Britain, her cabinet, instead of a corresponding repeal, or a practical discontinuance of its orders, formally avowed a determiation to persist in them against the United States, until the mar kets of her enemy should be laid open to British products; thus asserting an obligation on a neutral power to require one belligerent to encourage, by its internal regulations, the trade of another belligerent contradicting her own practice towards all nations, in peace as well as in war; and betraying the insincerity of those professions which inculcated a belief that, having resorted to her orders with regret, she was anxious to find an occasion for putting an end to them. Abandoning still more all respect for the neutral rights of the United States, and for its own consistency, the British government pow demands, as pre-requisites to a repeal of its orders as they relate to the United States, that a formality should be observed in the repeal of the French decrees, nowise necessary to their termination, nor exemplified by British usage; and that the French repeal, besides including that portion of the decrees which operate

the belief, that the disavowal proceeded from a spirit of hostility to the commercial rights and prosperity of the United States. And it has since come into proof, that at the very moment, when the pub lie minister was holding the language of friendship and inspiring confidence in the sincerity of the negociation with which he was charged, a secret agent of his goverement was emploped in intrigues, having for their object a subversion of our government, and a dis memberment of our happy union.

In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain towards the United States our attention is necessarily drawn to the warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our extensive frontiers; a warfare which is known to spare neither age or sex, and to be distinguished by features peculiarly shocking to humanity. It is difficult to account for the activity and combinations which have for some time been developing themselves among tribes in the constant intercourse with British traders and garrisons, without connecting their hostility with that influence; and without recollecting the authenticated examples of such interpositions heretofore furnished by the officers and agents of that government.

within a territorial jurisdiction, as well as that which operates on which have been heaped on our country: and such Such is the spectacle of injuries and indignities the high seas against the commerce of the United States, should not be a single special repeal in relation to the United States, but the crisis which its unexampled forbearance and should be extended to whatever other neutral nations unconnected conciliatory efforts have not been able to avert. It with them, may he affected by those decrees. And as an additional insult, they are called on for a formal disavowal of conditions might at least have been expected that an enlight and pretensions advanced by the French government, for which ened nation, if less urged by moral obligations, or the United States are so far from having made themselves respon invited by friendly dispositions on the part of the the world, and in a correspondence of the American minister at United States would have found, in its true interest London with the British minister for foreign affairs, such a respon a lone, a sufficient motive to respect their rights and sibility was explicitly and emphatically disclaimed.

sible, that, in official explanations, which have been published to

It has become, indeed, sufficiently certain that the commerce of their tranquility on the high seas; that an enlarged The United States is to be sacrificed, not as interfering with the bel- policy would have favored that free & general circula. ligerent rights of Great Britain, not as supplying the wants of her tion of commerce,in which the British nation is at all enemies, which she herself supplies, but as interfering with the

monopoly which she covets for her own commerce and navigation. times interested, and which in times of war is the She carries on a war against the lawful commerce of a friend, that best alleviation of its calamities to herself as well as she inay the better carry on a commerce polluted by the forgeries and juries which are, for the most part, the only passports by

which it can succeed.

the other belligerents; and more especially that the British cabinet would not, for the sake of the precarious and surreptitious intercourse with hostile markets, have persevered in a course of measures which necessarily put at hazard the invaluable mar ket of a great and growing country, disposed to cultivate the mutual advantages of an active com


Auxious to make every experiment short of the last resort of in jured nations, the United States have withheld from Great Britain, under successive modifications, the benefits of a free intercourse with their market, the loss of which could not but outweigh the profits accruing from her restrictions of our commerce with other pations. And to entitle these experiments to the more favorable consideration, they were so framed as to enable her to place her adversary under the exclusive operation of them. To these ap peals her government has been equally inflexible, as if willing to make sacrifices of every sort, rather than yield to the claims of jus Other councils have prevailed. Our moderation Sice or renounce the errors of a false pride. Nay, so far were the and conciliation have had no other effect than to attempts carried, to overcome the attachment of the British cabiet to its unjust edicts, that it received every encouragement with- encourage perseverance, and to enlarge pretensions, in the competency of the executive branch of our government, to We behold our seafaring citizens still the daily vicexpect that a repeal of them would be followed by a war between the United States, and France, unless the French edicts should also tims of lawless violence committed on the great be repealed. Even this communication, although silencing for- common and highway of nations, even within sight ever the plea of a disposition in the United States to acquiesce in of the country which owes them protection. We in those edicts, originally the sole plea for them, received no atbehold our vessels freighted with: he products of If no other proof existed of a predetermination of the British go- our soil and industry, or returning with the honest vernment against a repeal of its orders, it might be found on the proceeds of them, wrested from their lawful destiCorrespondence of the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at London, and the British secretary for foreign affairs in nations, confiscated by prize courts, no longer the 1810, on the question whether the blockade of May 1806, was co-organs of public law, but the instruments of arbithe French government, which urged this blockade as the ground trary edicts; and their unfortunate crews dispersed peal that decree; which, being followed by alternate repeals of the into British fleets: whilst argaments are employed of its Berlin decree, was willing, in the event of its removal, to re- and lost, or forced or inveigled, in British ports, other offensive edicts, might abolish the whole system on both sides. This inviti ig opportunity for accomplishing an object so in support of these aggressions, which have no important to the United States, and professed so often to be the foundation but in a principle equally supporting a desire of both the belligerents, was made known to the British go claim to regulate our external commerce in all ca.


sidered as in force or as not in forec. It had been ascertained that

verament. As that government admits that an actual application
of an adequate force,is necessary to the existence of a legal blockadees whatsoever.
and it was notorious,tirat if such a forechad ever been applied, its long
discontinuance had aunulled the blockade in question, there could be
no sufficient objection on the part of Great Britain to a formal a
revocation of it; and no imaginable objection, to a declaration of

We behold, in fine, on the side of Great Britain state of war against the United States; and on the side of the United States a state of peace towards Great Britain.

the fact, that the plockade did not exist. The declaration would have been consistent with her avowed principles of blockade, and would have enabled the United States to demand from France, the pledged repeal of her decrees; either with success, in which case Whether the United States shall continue passive figerent edicts; or without success, in which case the United States cumulating wrongs; or, opposing force to force in the way would have been opened for a general repeal of the bel under these progressive usurpations, and these ac. would have been justined in turning their measures exclusively defence of their natural rights, shall commit a just against France. The British government would, however, neither rescind the blockade nor declare its non-existence; nor permit its cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of non-existence to be inferred and affirmed by the American plenipotentiary. On the contrary, by representing the blockade to be events, avoiding all connections which might en comprehended in the orders in council, the United States were tangle it in the contests or views of other powers, compelled so to regard it in their subs quent proceedings. There was a period when a favorable change in the policy of the and preserving a constant readiness to concur in an British cabinet, was justly considered as established. The amuster honourable re-establishment of peace and friendship, plenipotentiary of his Britannic majesty here proposed an adjust is a solemn question, which the constitution wisely ment of the diferences more immediately endangering the harmo my of the two countries. The proposition was accepted with a promp titud and conbality corresponding with the invariable professions of this government. A foundation appeared to be laid for a sincere and lasting reconciliation. The prospect, however, quicaly va nished. The whole proceeding was disavowed by the British go vernment without any explanations which could at that time repress

confides to the legislative department of the govern ment. In recommending it to their early delibera ions, I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy the enlightened and patriotic coun cils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation.

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Having presented this view of the relations of preserve the relations of friendship with Great Brithe United States with Great Britain and of the tain. Of this disposition they gave a distinguished solemn alternative growing out of them, I proceed proof, at the moment when they were made the victo remark that the communications last made to tims of an opposite policy. The wrongs of the last congress on the subject of our relations with France war had not been forgotten at the commencement will have shown that since the revocation of her de of the present one. They warned us of dangers, crees a they violated the neutral rights of the Uni- against which it was sought to provide. As early ted States, her government has authorised illegal as the year 1804, the Minister of the United States captures, by its privateers and public ships, and at London was instructed, to invite the British gothat other outrages have been practised on our ves-vernment to enter into a negociation on all the sels and our citizens. It will have been seen also, points on which a collision might arise between the that no indemnityfhad been provided, or satisfactorily two countries, in the course of the war, and to pledged for the extensive spoliations committed un-propose to it an arrangement of their claims on fair der the violent and retrospective orders of the French and reasonable conditions. The invitation was acgovernment against the property of our citizens cepted. A negociation had commenced and was seized within the jurisdiction of France. I abstain depending, and nothing had occurred to excite a at this time from recommending to the considera- doubt that it would not terminate to the satisfaction tion of congress definitive measures with respect to of both the parties. It was at this time, and under that nation, in the expectation that the result of un- these circumstances, that an attack was made, by closed discussions between our minister plenipoten surprize, on an important branch of the American tiary at Papis and the French government will commerce, which affected every part of the United speedily enable congress to decide, with greater ad States, and involved many of their citizens in ruin. vantage, on the course due to the rights, the inte rests, and the honor of our country.


Washington, June 1. 1812.
The committee on foreign relations, to whom was re
ferred the message of the president of the United
States, of the 1st of June, 1812.

The commerce on which this attack was so unexpectedly made, was between the United States and the colonies of France, Spain, and other enemies of G. Britain. A commerce just in itself; sanctioned by the example of Great Britain in regard to the trade with her own colonies; sanctioned by a solemn act between the two governments in the last war; and sanctioned by the That after the experience which the United States practice of the British government in the present have had of the great injustice of the British gowar, more than two years having elapsed, without vernment towards them, exemplified by so many any interference with it.

acts of violence and oppression, it will be more dif The injustice of this attack could only be equalficult to justify to the impartial world their paled by the absurdity of the pretext alleged for it. tient forbearance, than the measures to which it It was pretended by the British government, that hss become necessary to resort, to avenge the in case of war, her enemy had no right to modify wrongs, and vindicate the rights and honor of the its colonial regulations, so as to mitigate the calamnation. Your committee are happy to observe, on ities of war to the inhabitants of its colonies This a dispassionate review of the conduct of the United pretension peculiar to Great Britain, is utterly inStates, that they see in it no cause for censure. compatible with the rights of the sovereignty in

If a long forbearance under injuries ought ever evervindependent state. If we recur to the well estto be considered a virtue in any nation, it is one blished and universally admitted law of nations, wewhich peculiarly becomes the United States. No shall find no sanction to it, in that venerable code. people ever had stronger motives to cherish peace: The sovereignty of every state is co-extensive with none have ever cherished it with greater sincerity its dominions, and cannot be abrogated, or curtailed and zeal. in rights, as to any part, except by conquest. Neu

But the period has now arrived, when the United tral nations have a right to trade to every port of States must support their character and station either belligerent, which is not legally blockaded; among the nations of the earth, or submit to the and in all articles which are not contraband of war. most shameful degradation. Forbearance has ceased Such is the absurdity of this pretension, that your to be a virtue. War on the one side, and peace on committee are aware, especially after the able manthe other, is a situation as ruinous as it is disgrace-ner in which it has been heretofore refuted, and exful. The mad ambition, the Inst of power, and composed, that they would offer an insult to the undermercial avarice of Great Britain, arrogating to her-standing of the house, if they enlarged on it, and if self the complete dominion of the ocean, and exer any thing could add to the high sense of the injuscising over it an unbounded and lawless tyranny, tice of the British government in the transaction, have left to neutral nations an alternative only, be- it would be the contrast which her conduct exhibits tween the base surrender of their rights, and a in regard to this trade, and in regard to a similar manly vindication of them. Happily for the United trade by neutrals with her own colonies. It is known States, their destiny, under the aid of Heaven, is in to the world,that G. Britain regulates her own trade their own hands. The crisis is formidable only by in war and in peace, at home and in her colonies, their love of peace. As soon as it becomes a duty as she finds for her interest-that in war she relaxes to relinquish that situation, danger disappears.—the restraints of her colonial system in favor of the They have suffered no wrongs, they have received colonies, and that it never was suggested that she no insults, however great, for which they cannot had not a right to do it; or that a neutral in taking obtain redress. advantage of the relaxation violated a belligerent right of her enemy. But with Great Britain every thing is lawful. It is only in a trade with her ene mies that the United States can do wrong. With them all trade is unlawful.

More than seven years have elapsed, since the commencement of this system of hostile aggression by the British government, on the rights and inter ests of the United States. The manner of its com mencement was not less hostile, than the spirit In the year 1793 an attack was made by the Briwith which it has been prosecuted. The U. States tish government on the same branch of our neutral have invariably done every thing in their power tol trade, which had nearly involved the two countries

the act has since become subservient to other pur poses. It has been made by his successors a pretext for that vast system of usurpation, which has so long oppressed and harrassed our commerce.

in a war. That difference however wasam icably ac- was not applied, and this is evident from the terms commodated. The pretension was withdrawn and of the blockade itself, by which, comparatively, an reparation made to the United States for the losses in considerable portion of the coast only was declar which they had suffered by it. It was fair to infered to be in a state of strict and rigorous blockade. from that arrangement that the commerce was The objection to the measure is not diminished by deemed by the British government lawful, and that that circumstance. If the force was not applied, it would not be again disturbed. the blockade was unlawful from whatever cause the Had the British government been resolved to failure might proceed. The belligerent who insticontest this trade with neutrals, it was due to the tutes the blockade cannot absolve itself from the obcharacter of the British nation that the decision ligation to apply the force under any pretext whatshould be made known to the government of the ever. For a belligerent to relax a blockade, which United States. The existence of a negociation it could not maintain, it would be a refinement in which had been invited by our government, for the in ustice, not less insulting to the understanding purpose of preventing differences by an amicable than repugnant to the law of nations. To claim arrangement of their respective pretensions, gave a merit for the mitigation of an evil, which the party strong claim to the notification, while it afforded either had not the power or found it inconvenient the fairest opportunity for it. But a very different to inflict, would be a new mode of encroaching on policy animated the then cabinet of England. The neutral rights-Your committee think it just to reliberal confidence and friendly overtures of the mark that this act of the British government does United Sates were taken advantage of to ensnare not appear to have been adopted in the sense in them. Steady to its purpose and inflexibly hostile which it has been since construed. On considerato this country, the British government calmly tion of all the circumstances attending the mea looked forward to the moment, when it might give sure, and particularly the character of the distinthe most deadly wound to our interests. A trade just guished statesman who announced it, we are perin itself, which was secured by so many strong and suaded that it was conceived in a spirit of concilia. sacred pledges, was considered safe. Our citizens tion and intended to lead to an accommodation of all with their usual industry and enterprise had em- differences between the United States and Great barked in it a vast proportion of their shipping, Britain. His death disappointed that hope, and and of their capital, which were at sea, under no other protection than the law of nations, and the confidence which they reposed in the justice and friendship of the British nation. At this period the unexpected blow was given. Many of vessels were The next act of the British government which seized, carried into port and condemed by a tribu- claims our attention is the order of council of Janunal, which, while it professes to respect the law of ary 7, 1807, by which neutral powers are prohibited nations,obeyd the mandates of its own government. trading from one port to another of France or her Hundres of other vessels were driven from the allies, or any other country with which Great ocean, and the trade itself in a great measure sup Britain might not freely trade. By this order the pressed. The effect produced by this attack on the pretension of England, heretofore claimed by every lawful commerce of the United States was such as other power, to prohibit neutrals disposing of parts might have been expected from a virtuous, inde of their cargoes at different ports of the same enependent and highly injured people. But one my, is revived and with vast accumulation of inju Gentiment pervaded the whole American nation.y. Every enemy, however great the number or No local interests were regarded; no sordid mo-distant from each other, is considered one, and the tives felt. Without looking to the parts which suf-like trade even with powers at peace with England, fered most, the invasion of our rights was consider who from motives of policy had excluded or re ed a common cause, and from one extremity of our strained her commerce, was also prohibited. In Union to the other, was heard the voice of an united this act the British government evidently disclaimed people, calling on their government to avenge their all regard for neutral rights. Aware that the mea wrongs, and vindicate the rights and honor of their sures authorised by it could find no pretext in any country. belligerent right, none was urged. To prohibit From this period the British government has the sale of our produce, consisting of innocent ar gone on in a continued encroachment on the rights ticles at any port of a belligerent, not blockaded, to and interests of the United States, disregarding in consider every belligerent as one, and subject neuits course, in many instances, obligations which trals to the same restraints with all, as if there was have heretofore been held sacred by civilized na- but one, were bold encroachments. But to restrain tions. or in any manner interfere with our commerce with In May, 1806, the whole coast of the continent neutral nations with whom Great Britain was at from the Elbe to Brest inclusive, was declared to be peace, and against whom she had no justifiable in a state of blockade. By this act, the well-esta-cause of war, for the sole reason, that the restrainblished principles of the law of nations, principles ed or excluded from their ports her commerce, was which have served for ages as guides, and fixed the utterly incompatible with the pacific relations subboundary between the rights to belligerents and sisting between the two contries. neutrals, were violated: By the law of nations, as We proceed to bring into view the British order recognized by Great Britain herself, no blockade in council of November 11th 1807, which superced is lawful, unless it be sustained by the application of ed every other order, and consummated that system an adequate force, and that an adequate force was of hostility on the commerce of the United States applied to this blockade, in its full extent, ought which has been since so steadily pursued. By this not to be pretended. Whether Great Britain was order all France and her allies and every other able to maintain, legally, so extensive a blockade, country at war with Great Britain, or with which considering the war in which she is engaged, re she was not at war, from which the British flag was quiring such extensive naval operations, is a ques excluded and all the colonies of her enemies, were tion which it is not necessary at this time to ex-subjected to the same restrictions as if they were amine. It is sufficient to be known, that such force actually blockaded in the most strict and rigorous

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